A frugal festive feast


A friend of mine who is trying to help me on the frugal path (he’s a tight-fisted Northerner…sorry Jonathan!) passed on an email from a website detailing how you can make a family Christmas lunch for £12. What a great idea, I thought. But when I read the list of bargains it turned my stomach a bit. While the guys have obviously done some excellent research, some items – besides the veg – are basically cheap processed tat I wouldn’t feed our chickens.

Turkey – £5.69 from Lidl, self-basting

Stuffing – 12p Sainsbury’s Basics sage & onion stuffing mix

Gravy – 44p Asda Smartprice meat gravy granules

Sprouts – (eek…) 49p Lidl

Parsnips – 72p for 500g Sainsbury’s

Carrots – 55p Asda Smartprice 1.5 kg

Potatoes – 39p Lidl 1.5kg

Cranberry sauce – 34p Asda Smartprice

Christmas pud – 98p – Sainsbury, Tesco or Asda.

6 Mince pies – 49p Tesco value

Christmas cake – £1.48 Asda smart price iced cake

Total = £11.69 (Source = Motley Fool)

OK, not bad, but does anyone have indigestion?! Now, I’ve nothing against Lidl or Aldi – I shop there myself sometimes. Sure, I’d prefer to spend £5 on a really tasty free range chicken because I keep chucks. Each to their own. I’m not saying you should do that. But many people don’t even like turkey so why eat it just because it’s Christmas?

Who wants to eat 12p stuffing mix when the real thingis a doddle and delicious? All you need is some onions, dried sage, breadcrumbs and milk. OK, it might cost about 30p to make, but believe me, it’s GORGEOUS!

Mmm…gravy. “What will 44p gravy granules taste like?”, Jonathan wondered. Probably not great. Making your own gravy would cost less. My father gave me his poultry gravy recipeand – while I can’t tell you it as I’d have to kill you – it uses soy sauce, onion, a chicken Oxo cube, herbs, star anise & water and costs about 22p to make. Or you can use the turkey juices if you’re eating turkey.

Where are we? Sprouts – ditch ‘em. I can’t stand them and they give you wind! The veg should be fine – although I haven’t seen these 39p potatoes! Let’s go mad and budget £1 for potatoes! We’ll ditch the cranberry sauce as we’re eating chicken so we don’t need it. And we’ll splash out on quality frozen peas – say 30p worth of a £1 packet. That’s £8.78 so far or £2.20 a head.

Right…Christmas pud, mince pies and Christmas cake are all the same thing– I’ve made them all and the ingredients are mixed fruit, almonds, mixed spice, lemon, rum etc.. Last year I slaved over the Christmas cake and nobody ate it but me and I got fat. All three is too much, and, so if we make just the pud and mince pies from scratch (using homemade mincemeat made from the dried fruit) I estimate you can make 1 luxury homemade pudding for four people and 24 mince piesfor a total of £3 (£1 almonds, £1 fruit, 50p butter, 20p apple, 30p worth of sugar, 40p lemons etc.)That’s 6.25p a mince pie, so six would cost us 38p. The pud costs £1.50 to make. That brings the running total to £10.66p. We’ve underspent the budget by just over a pound and we’re eating wholesome, delicious food, not cheap rubbish! Although maybe some of it take a bit more time to do.

One important thing that’s been forgotten though is – BOOZE! Time to hit DJ’s delicious 30p a pint beer…so 60p for two adult pints (assuming a 2 kid family Christmas meal)….and a total of £11.26, but I have the feeling we’ll drink more than that…!

A merry frugal Christmas to you all! Thanks for checking out the blog & see you in the New Year, love Piper

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3 Responses to A frugal festive feast

  1. JustMe says:

    this is Helen, rainbow
    I have started a new space I have sent an invite I do hope you\’ll join me again,
    thanks Helen.
    Hope you had a nice christmas xx

  2. Sarah says:

    I see what you mean about not following this to the letter, Piper. One option is to invite people over and ensure they know to come bearing gifts of food and booze. But,trust me, you have to weigh up the stress of entertaining against the smaller food bill! The cost to your state of mind can be too high….

  3. piper says:

    Good idea Sarah – as long as the guests are carefully screened!  x

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